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NSW Science & Research Breakfast Seminar Series

Associate Professor Amy Cain seminar audience
Associate Professor Amy Cain from Macquarie University presenting 'Mini-machines: how microbial genes can improve the world' - Strangers' Room, Parliament of NSW, Wednesday 11 October 2023.

The Science & Research Breakfast Seminar Series showcases excellence in research and development which is generating economic, environmental, social and technological benefits for New South Wales. The series will again feature some of the state’s best and brightest, and highlight its tremendous research strength across a diverse range of disciplines.

For more information, please call the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer on (02) 9228 5762.

To receive invitations to the Science and Research Breakfast Seminar Series, please register using the form below.


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2024 Science & Research Breakfast Seminar Series

Wednesday 6 March 2024

2023 NSW Scientist of the Year, Emeritus Professor Trevor McDougall

2023 NSW Scientist of the Year, Emeritus Professor Trevor McDougall
UNSW Sydney

What the Ocean tells us about Climate Change


The ocean is an integral part of the climate system, absorbing 30 per cent of our carbon dioxide emissions and 90 per cent of the heat received by our planet due to the increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases.

In doing this, the ocean has been performing a huge service for humanity by moderating the effects on our climate caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

The ability of the ocean to absorb heat in one location and deliver it to another is especially important to understand in the present epoch of increasing temperature, humidity and climate extremes.

In this seminar, internationally renowned oceanographer Emeritus Professor Trevor McDougall will explain the physical principles that underlie our understanding of greenhouse-induced climate change.

Trevor will summarise recent breakthroughs in physical oceanography, explaining what parts of ocean science we know reasonably well and what aspects are poorly known. He will investigate critical questions about what the future holds, including looking at the causes of sea level changes and whether the sea level can be made to stop rising.

Join us for the first Science & Research Breakfast Seminar of 2024, when NSW Scientist of the Year, Emeritus Professor Trevor McDougall presents, ‘What the Ocean tells us about Climate Change’.

About the Speaker

Emeritus Professor Trevor McDougall AC FRS FAA
UNSW Sydney

Trevor is globally recognised as a leading expert in the field of physical oceanography and is the world’s foremost authority on ocean thermodynamics. He has been recognised for his contribution to our understanding of the fundamental physics of the ocean, including how it moves and how it mixes. His ground-breaking research has impacted all of physical oceanography, including observational oceanography and ocean modelling, and he has also transformed the field of ocean thermodynamics.

Trevor's research focuses on the ocean’s role in climate, ocean mixing processes and the thermodynamics of seawater. His major discoveries have positioned Australia at the forefront of ocean physics and climate research. His work has improved the modelling of the effects of climate change and has led to the discovery of several new ocean mixing processes, and the development of new methods of analysing oceanographic data.

Trevor’s theoretical discoveries underlie the adoption of the Temporal Residual Mean parameterisation by ocean and climate models. Widely regarded as the most substantial improvement in ocean modelling since 1985, this breakthrough incorporates the effects of mesoscale ocean eddies in climate models. His dedication to advancing ocean modelling techniques has not only expanded our understanding of the coupled atmosphere-ocean-ice climate system but has also opened new avenues for future research.

Trevor’s contributions to the field of oceanography includes leading an international group of researchers in redefining the 30-year-old definition of seawater thermodynamics and improving the accuracy of the treatment of ‘ocean heat content’ by a factor of 100.

Trevor has received significant recognition and awards during his career, including:

  • 2023 NSW Scientist of the Year, Premier’s Prizes for Science & Engineering
  • 2023 Fellow of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics
  • 2022 Prime Minister's Prize for Science
  • 2019 President of International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Oceans, 2019-2023
  • 2018 Prize of Excellence, Werner Petersen Foundation
  • 2018 Fellow of the American Geophysical Union
  • 2018 Companion of the Order of Australia
  • 2017 NSW Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry or Physics
  • 2016 Laureate Professorial Fellowship of the Australian Research Council
  • 2015 Henry Houghton chair for visiting senior scientists, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 2015 Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales
  • 2015 Jaeger Medal, Australian Academy of Science
  • 2013 Royal Society of Tasmania Medal
  • 2012 Fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK)
  • 2012 Scientia Professor of Ocean Physics, School of Mathematics and Statistics, UNSW Sydney
  • 2012 Fellow of the Royal Society of London
  • 2007 Fellow of CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
  • 2004 Fellow of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
  • 1997 Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science

2023 Science & Research Breakfast Seminar Series

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Professor David Reilly
The University of Sydney and Microsoft

A Digital Electronics Revolution to Support a Quantum Future

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Associate Professor Amy Cain
Macquarie University

Mini-machines: How Microbial Genes Can Improve the World

Wednesday 16 August 2023

Professor Richard McDermid
Macquarie University

Exploring Our Complex Cosmos with Next-Generation Telescopes in the Age of Data-Intensive Astronomy

Wednesday 14 June 2023

Ros Harvey
CEO, The Yield

Is Agriculture Ready for Artificial Intelligence?

Wednesday 10 May 2023

Professor Garry Myers
University of Technology Sydney

Synthetic RNAs for NSW and Australian Needs

Wednesday 1 March 2023

2022 NSW Scientist of the Year
Professor Glenda Halliday
The University of Sydney

Neurodegenerative Disease: Causes and Cures

2022 Science & Research Breakfast Seminar Series

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Distinguished Professor Michelle Leishman
Macquarie University

Towards Nature - Smart Liveable Cities for the Future

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Chris Beal
Chief Executive Officer, NextOre Pty Ltd

Australian Technology’s Role in Addressing the Environmental Impacts of Mining

Wednesday 17 August 2022

Dr Carl Seubert
Chief Research Officer, SmartSat CRC

Guiding the Trajectory of Australia's Space Technology

Wednesday 29 June 2022

Professor Judith Dawes
Macquarie University

Photonics: Making Light Work

Wednesday 11 May 2022

2021 NSW Scientist of the Year Professor Jim Patrick AO
Cochlear and Macquarie University

The Cochlear Implant as a Treatment of Severe to Profound Hearing Loss

* Due to technical difficulties with the Parliament of NSW AV system, this video does not contain footage of the speaker, but rather the presentation slides and Professor Patrick's accompanying narration. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Professor Hala Zreiqat AM
The University of Sydney

The Challenges in Engineering Human Tissue

2021 Science & Research Breakfast Seminar Series

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Professor Ian Paulsen

Distinguished Professor Ian Paulsen
Macquarie University

Synthetic Biology: Inspired by Nature, Designed by Science

NOTE: there is an error in slide 32 of this presentation. The chromatogram shown in the bottom right of the slide is old data that has not been reproduced.


Wednesday 14 July 2021

Professor Francois Aguey-Zinsou

Professor Francois Aguey-Zinsou
UNSW Sydney

Hydrogen Science and the Future of Australia


Wednesday 19 May 2021

Distinguised Professor Belinda Medlyn

Distinguished Professor Belinda Medlyn
Western Sydney University

Climate Change and Australian Vegetation: Where Are We Headed?


Wednesday 31 March 2021

Professor Edward Holmes

2020 NSW Scientist of the Year
Professor Edward Holmes
The University of Sydney

The Discovery and Origins of SARS-CoV-2


2020 Science & Research Breakfast Seminar Series

Wednesday 2 December 2020

Professor Antoine van Oijen delivering a lecture

Distinguished Professor Antoine van Oijen
University of Wollongong

Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance, from Molecule to Community


Wednesday 21 October 2020

Professor Dayong Jin

Distinguished Professor Dayong Jin
University of Technology Sydney

Harnessing Nanophotonics for the Early Detection of Coronavirus


Wednesday 19 August 2020

Professor Ross Bradstock

Senior Professor Ross Bradstock
University of Wollongong

The Science of Bushfire Risk


Wednesday 1 July 2020

Professor Liz Pellicano

Professor Liz Pellicano 
Macquarie University

Knowing Autism


Wednesday 20 May 2020

Professor Dietmar Muller

Professor Dietmar Müller 
The University of Sydney

The Future of Geoscience in Australia


Wednesday 26 February 2020

Scientia Professor Rose Amal, 2019 NSW Scientist of the Year

2019 NSW Scientist of the Year
Scientia Professor Rose Amal AC
UNSW Sydney

Harnessing Solar Energy To Power Our Planet



Tuesday 3 December 2019

Professor Geordie Williamson

Professor Geordie Williamson 
Director of the Mathematical Research Institute 
The University of Sydney

Light, Sound and the Magic of the Fourier Transform


Wednesday 16 October 2019

Liesl Yearsley

Liesl Yearsley
CEO and Co-Founder, a·kin

The Co-Evolution of AI and Humanity

Tuesday 13 August 2019

Dr Cathy Foley

Dr Cathy Foley
CSIRO Chief Scientist

Future Science 2040


Wednesday 19 June 2019

Professor Maria Kavallaris

Professor Maria Kavallaris  
Children's Cancer Institute and Australian Centre for NanoMedicine, UNSW Sydney

How Nanomedicine is Changing Cancer Treatment


Tuesday 30 April 2019

Professor Michael Biercuk

Professor Michael J. Biercuk  
The University of Sydney and Q-CTRL

Building the Quantum Economy


Wednesday 27 February 2019

Laureate Professor Nick Talley, 2018 NSW Scientist of the Year

2018 NSW Scientist of the Year 
Laureate Professor Nick Talley AC
The University of Newcastle

Uncovering the Secrets of Serious Gut Disorders



Wednesday 28 November 2018

Dr Pasi Sahlberg

Dr Pasi Sahlberg
Gonski Institute for Education, UNSW Sydney

Finnish Lessons: Increasing Equity and Opportunity in
Australia's Education System Through Research


Wednesday 10 October 2018

Associate Professor Muireann Irish

Associate Professor Muireann Irish
School of Psychology, the University of Sydney

Memory in Dementia - Past, Present and Future


Wednesday 15 August 2018

Professor David Currow

Professor David Currow
Chief Cancer Officer, NSW and Chief Executive Officer,
Cancer Institute NSW

How Cancer Outcomes Can Continue to Improve


Wednesday 6 June 2018

Professor Veena Sahajwallah

Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla
Director of UNSW Sydney's Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT)

Green Microfactories: Products from Waste


Wednesday 9 May 2018

Professor Justin Gooding

Professor Justin Gooding
Scientia Professor in the School of Chemistry at
UNSW Sydney and founding co-director of the
Australian Centre for NanoMedicine

How Sensors are Changing Our World


Wednesday 21 February 2018

Professor Gordon Wallace, 2017 NSW Scientist of the Year

2017 NSW Scientist of the Year
Professor Gordon Wallace AO
University of Wollongong

3D Printing, Bioprinters and Clinical Application



Wednesday 22 November 2017

Distinguished Professor Lesley Hughes

Distinguised Professor Lesley Hughes
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity and Development) and Professor of Biology at Macquarie University

Climate Change Frustration:
What Role the Public Scientist?


Wednesday 8 November 2017

Dr Peter Svensson

Dr Peter Svensson
Vinnova - Sweden's Innovation Agency

Openness and Innovation:
Possibilities for New South Wales


Wednesday 18 October 2017

Professor Richard Roberts

Professor Richard Roberts
Director of the new ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage at the University of Wollongong

Our Story: The Epic Human and Environmental History of Australia


Wednesday 9 August 2017

Professor Louise Baur

Professor Louise Baur AM
The University of Sydney

Tackling Childhood Obesity:
From the Clinic to Global Policy


Wednesday 28 June 2017

Professor Rick Shine, 2016 NSW Scientist of the Year

2016 NSW Scientist of the Year
Rick Shine AM, Professor in Evolutionary Biology at
The University of Sydney
Winner of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science

Conversation in Cold Blood:
Researching Reptiles


Wednesday 5 April 2017

Nick Kaye

Mr Nick Kaye
CEO, Sydney School of Entrepreneurship

An Ecosystem, Satellites and a Stage:
Setting up Sydney’s School of Entrepreneurship


Wednesday 1 February 2017

Dr Simon Poole

Dr Simon Poole
Director, New Business Ventures at Finisar Australia

Ideas & Execution:
The Yin and Yang of Innovation